Vets briefs

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 World War II veterans

All WWII veterans are invited to attend our regular monthly meetings. This month, they will meet in Williston at the Hilltop Restaurant, 608 West Noble Ave., on Thursday, Oct. 14, at 11:30 a.m. Come join the camaraderie. Bring your spouse, a friend or a fellow veteran.

This month we will honor a number of our members who have been married 60 years and over.

If you have any questions, call Virginia Lewis, 352-528-2310 or Dot Halvorsen, 352-542-7697.

God bless all our veterans, and God bless America.


VFW collecting 

canned food

The VFW Post 5625,  1104 South Main St., is now collecting canned food for our local food bank for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Please drop off any canned food items at the Post daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

The Ladies Auxiliary VFW Post 5625 is holding a Yard Sale Oct. 8 and 9, from  8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at  816 E. Park Ave., Chiefland.  All proceeds go to local veterans.


New location, hours for Gilchrist veterans office 

Effective this week,  the Gilchrist County Veterans Service will be located at 214 East Wade Ave., Trenton. The new location will be shared with the County SHIPP program and entrance is from the rear of the house. "The blue house" has a new handicapped access sidewalk directly from the parking lot just east of the courthouse making access to both offices much easier. 

The hours of operation for the Veterans Service Office will rbe Monday-Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to  4:30 p.m. It is best to call ahead for an appointment.


VA presumptive Vietnam Veteran diseases

Veterans groups praised the Department of Veterans Affairs last year when officials announced they would add three new diseases to the list of presumptive illnesses connected to the use of the Vietnam-era defoliant Agent Orange. 

But senators concerned about the cost and precedent of such a change put a 60-day hold on money related to the change and have asked the VA for more information on why Agent Orange claims should be expanded. 

In a speech to  the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said he's happy to defend the decision. "It was the right decision, and the President and I are proud to finally provide this group of Veterans the care and benefits they have long deserved." The rules regarding the new recognized illnesses —Parkinson's disease, Hairy Cell, and other types of chronic, b-cell leukemia, and Ischemic Heart Disease — could open up veterans benefits to 250,000 more Vietnam-era veterans and cost the VA another $13.4 billion over the next 18 months. 

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) has publicly questioned whether scientific research supports including the three new diseases with other Agent Orange exposure conditions and if the VA is unnecessarily committing billions in compensation payments for problems that are often simply the result of aging. 


VA publishes final regulation on "presumptive" illnesses for Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan vets

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the publication of a final regulation in the Federal Register that makes it easier for veterans to obtain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability compensation for certain diseases associated with service in Southwest Asia (including Iraq) or Afghanistan.  

The final regulation establishes new presumptions of service connection for nine specific infectious diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia, beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War on Aug. 2, 1990, through the conflict in Iraq and on or after Sept. 19, 2001, in Afghanistan.  

The final regulation reflects a determination of a positive association between service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and nine diseases and includes information about the long-term health effects potentially associated with these diseases: Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus.  

With the final rule, a veteran will only have to show service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and that he or she had one of the nine diseases within a certain time after service and has a disability as a result of that disease, subject to certain time limits for seven of the diseases.  Most of these diseases would be diagnosed within one year of return from service, though some conditions may manifest at a later time.

For non-presumptive conditions, a veteran is required to provide medical evidence to establish an actual connection between military service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and a specific disease.  

Disability compensation is a non-taxable monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated during active military service.  

Last year, VA received more than 1 million claims for disability compensation and pension.  VA provides compensation and pension benefits to over 3.8 million Veterans and beneficiaries.  

The basic monthly rate of compensation ranges from $123 to $2,673 for Veterans without any dependents.

For information about health problems associated with military service in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan, and related VA programs, go to www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/.

For information about how to apply for disability compensation, go to www.va.gov.